|Applebee's vs. BFing
||[Sep. 7th, 2007|12:37 pm]
Child Free: Feminism
I was perusing Feministing this morning, as I am prone to do once in a while, and I came across a post that confused me.
Women in 30 different states held demonstrations outside their local Applebee's recently to protest the restaurant's policy on breastfeeding.
Plans got started shortly after news about Brooke Ryan hit the Internet last week. Ryan went public after the manager of the Applebee's asked her to cover herself with a blanket while she breastfed her 7-month-old son in a booth in the back of the restaurant in June. According to officials, this request was in violation of a 2006 state law which prohibits any interference with a woman breast-feeding in public.
Applebee's responded by saying it would keep blankets so breast-feeding mothers can cover themselves.
You know, so no one would be offended by the oh-so-vile sight of a baby eating its lunch. But luckily, breastfeeding moms and their supporters organized online, and created nationwide action. Nice.
The part that confused me was the poster's comments that were supporting the lactivists.
Reading the comments I got more confused, barely anyone seemed to want to understand the other side that didn't want to see a baby sucking on someone's tit while they were eating dinner, or whatever.
One person's comment made me want to cheer though, because she seems to truly understand both sides correctly.
"Am I the only one who finds the recent surge in hostility towards small children to be a feminist issue?"
No, but the insistence that it is is setting us back at least a couple of decades.
Feeding an infant is not a woman-specific act. Men can do it to, whether they do so with a bottle of formula or breast milk. And that being the case--the fact that a baby can be fed without being put to a breast--means that this is not a woman-only issue. Insisting otherwise emphasizes the idea that women's bodily functions matter more than what's between their ears. And that's bad whether the function in question is being a passive sex object, giving birth or breastfeeding.
I agree that breastfeeding is best, and I plan to do so myself when I finally breed, if I can. But the boob nazis are seriously out of control. The idea that a woman might have a say in whether or how she uses her boobs is beyond them.
What's even more frightening is that the La Leche League, among other boob nazi groups, has strong ties to anti-feminist groups. The mighty crusades about breastfeeding, natural childbirth and attachment parenting are the only arenas in which otherwise-liberal sorts have managed to jump feet first in bed with religious conservatives, and it's seriously creeptastic.
Breastfeeding, like any other activity involving the body, should be an individual choice. It should be forced neither on mothers nor on unsuspecting passers-by.
There is no necessity to bf without coverage. None. The only women who argue otherwise are usually the kind who have drunk the kool-aid that tells them that being a mother--especially a bf mother--is tantamount to sainthood, and so they want to show off how remarkable they are for having squeezed a child out.
I am 100% behind setting up lactation rooms in every public place--especially workplaces--in which a parent (of whatever gender) can quietly feed his or her child or pump or whatever. But I simply don't support the idea that people have the right to tote infants everywhere and whip out a boob whenever the fancy strikes.
It seems like these mothers want all the attention and privilege that comes with being a parent, but none of the responsibility--especially the responsibility of keeping your child from annoying the crap out of everyone else around you. Parenting means you have to limit your lifestyle. And that means scheduling outings only to baby-friendly places or scheduling them around feeding times. If you can't do this simple lifestyle adjustment, you have no business being a parent in the first place.